What’s the Cause of Obesity?

August 22nd, 2012 by MorganDowney Leave a reply »

A new study indicates that grilled foods may contribute to obesity and type 2 diabetes. OK. I’m sure it’s a good piece of research. See Medical Daily: Grilled Foods Obesity Diabetes.  I intend to add it to my list of putative causes of obesity. How many causes can you name?

Here’s my list (so far): high fat diets, trans fats, large portion sizes, sugar-sweetened beverages, food insecurity, low socioeconomic status, high fructose corn syrup, television viewing, low levels of physical activity, maternal obesity, gestational diabetes, vending machines, competitive food sales in schools, food deserts, intrauterine influences, eating away from home, costs of eating healthy foods, endocrine disruptors, sleep deficits, assortative mating, air conditioning, air pollution, weight gain inducing drugs, living in the suburbs, international trade policies, decline in occupational physical activity, maternal smoking, no or short term breastfeeding, food marketing to  children, high-capacity beverage containers, child maltreatment, driving children to school, transportation policies, farm subsidies, food overproduction, respiratory problems, mental disabilities, physical disabilities, heavy alcohol consumption, smoking cessation, stress, lack of self-control, low parental education, your friends, gut microbial, a virus, television in the bedroom, home labor saving devices, skipping breakfast, snacking, lack of family meals, maternal employment, irregular working hours of mother or father or both,  having tonsils removed, ambient light at night, pre-natal exposure to natural disasters, pureed fed babies, meat-fat diets, high consumption of seaweed (in S. Korea), menopause, the market economy, economic development, depression, being a female prisoner in the United States, being born by C-section, poor emotional coping, arcea nut chewing, living with a single mother, delayed prenatal care, thyroid dysfunction, family conflict, consumption of pastries and chocolate (in Burkina Faso), and inflammation.

In India, compared to normal weight persons, obese individuals consumed more phlkas, chapatis/parathas/naan, plain dosa,mutton/chicken pulao/biryani, chicken fried and grilled, rasam , mixed vegetable sagu, vegetable raitha, honey, beetroot and bottlegourd. Consumption of plain milk was higher among normal weight than obese individuals. PubMed: Differences in consumption of food items.

To be fair, the researchers almost always note that these are observational studies, showing an association which is statistically significant. However, by the time the article gets to the university or hospital press office or out of the journal’s PR shop and into a journalist’s hands, the disclaimer that causation has not been established usually falls aside.


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